Not So Fast Starts

October 13th, 2023

Bucs OC Dave Canales.

The Bucs haven’t been greased lightning in the first quarter this season. In fact, the Bucs are entering their fifth game still looking to score their first touchdown in an opening quarter.

The Bucs have not scored more than a field goal in the first quarter and have been shut out in the first quarter the past two games (at New Orleans and home against Philadelphia). Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales was asked if the slow starts are because his players are still learning his offense.

“I would say so,” Canales said. “I would say when you know exactly what you’re doing and why, you just come out and it’s like the first play is the 70th play. The execution is at a high level, there’s no indecision up front with the quarterback, with the [running] backs, with everything.

“We’re learning each other right now. Baker [Mayfield] is still learning how to throw to Mike [Evans], Chris [Godwin], all the other young guys, you know? So, that whole component is a part of it.

“We’d love to just come out and start ripping it from the first quarter on. I love the fact that our guys kind of regroup, see what’s happening, we talk really quick in the half – we don’t really make a big deal out of micro-adjustments and then we kind of move forward.

“We’re the type of offense, from a character standpoint, that is built to finish – high-character guys, guys that are tough minded, guys that are great teammates. Nobody is flying off the handle at each other throughout a game, they just stay together, and then we finish. I love that about our group.”

That last paragraph from Canales hit home with Joe. “Character” was a big thing with Bucco Bruce Arians. He got that straight from Bear Bryant. Character enables players to rally and succeed and find ways to win.

Hell, the three best players on offense not counting Baker Mayfield all won rings with the Bucs: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Tristan Wirfs. So they know what kind of character it takes to fight through the fog.

Like most of the words that come out of Canales’ mouth, that makes sense.

22 Responses to “Not So Fast Starts”

  1. Lt. Dan Says:

    “Nobody is flying off the handle at each other throughout a game….” Antonio Brown anyone? This team, if nothing else, is refreshing.

  2. Joe Says:

    Antonio Brown anyone?

    Good catch!

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our defense also starts a bit soft & slow……we need both sides of the ball to gain the advantage Sunday….

  4. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    Seems to me like the defense comes alive after the first couple drives too. I’ve wondered if we make a couple adjustments quickly and the defense starts to dominate.

  5. DBS Says:

    They better Lear to start fast and get a lead. We have seen our defense run on and passed on. Only by pure luck not scored high on. Let a team up 14 to 21 points and it will probably be over. We need 7’s not 3’s. We had enough of that BS last year.

  6. DBS Says:


  7. KC Buc Says:

    Antonio Brown anyone? How about Tom too? Sure didn’t seem like some of Tom’s sideline tirades and surface tablet homicides could be considered “flying off the handle”. You get a lot of leeway when you are the goat though.

  8. Joe Says:

    Sure didn’t seem like some of Tom’s sideline tirades and surface tablet homicides could be considered “flying off the handle”.

    Joe doesn’t recall Tom Brady stomping off the field in the middle of a game topless either.

    If Joe is scoring at home (unfortunately, not true) Brown quit on three teams. Brady, for all his tantrums, never quit on a team that Joe can recall. (Took a vacation in training camp isn’t quitting. 🙂 )

  9. orlbucfan Says:

    “We’re the type of offense, from a character standpoint, that is built to finish – high-character guys, guys that are tough minded, guys that are great teammates.”
    Canales gets it. NFL Football is a (yes, violent) team sport. Players’ character was emphasized by Dungy, too. A diva less locker room is imperative. Bucs have that one nailed. I feel a win in the air. GO BUCS!!

  10. KC Buc Says:

    Oh true, and not questioning AB’s toxicity! Just that Brady may not have been the calming, best teammate on the sidelines last year. Like Dan said, you can tell the whole aura of the team is refreshing and you can sense it on the sidelines. Maybe a coincidence that Brady is gone, maybe not.

  11. Craig Says:

    I hope it is as simple as familiarity.

    That familiarity is most important for the O-line. If they can come right out and punch someone in the mouth, it will help a lot.

    It would help even more if the RB was actually looking for a hole or seam.

    A big run to start the game will set the defense back a step. Letting a defense dominate the first quarter is emotionally hard for the offense too.

  12. aleyz2020 Says:

    Watching Dan Campbell’s press conference sounds like he’s a bit cocky and over confident so much so that they didn’t practice much this week. I realize some of it is the poker face showing but maybe a perfect opportunity for them to get their butt kicked!

  13. BillyBucco Says:

    I think after a week off and from the press conferences I listened to the game plan is one the defense likes. It will be like a playoff game to start, kinda like KC vs Lions opening night. Both teams went 3 and out to start and both teams scored on their 2nd drive. A lot of nerves in there I’m sure. I don’t think Tampa is nervous, but VERY hungry to show they are for real.
    I’m not sure if you guys have listened but The Salty Dogs podcast with Steve Smith highlighted something unusual.
    The Bucs lined up with Goedeke next to Wirfs on the left side. NO called a TO and then when the Bucs came BACK in that formation, Otton had a false start so they never ran the play. Joe Gilbert told Scott Smith what they were going to do and Scott said he wouldn’t share it.
    Can’t wait to watch for that formation this week.
    I hope we run some effective trick plays and beat the Lions at their own game.

  14. Bucs'n'Bucks Says:

    Anyone else watch Lamar throw his helmet every time he came off the field last week? Passion is one thing but that was pathetic. Thank goodness we don’t have poor sports like that this year.

  15. Lakeland Steve Says:

    Most guys would get in the Coach’s doghouse if they were constantly coming off the field throwing helmets, screaming and carrying on, unless you are Tom Brady or one of the elite players. I love Tom Brady but those antics can’t always be reassuring to a team. Can you imagine after every series the entire offense coming off the field throwing helmets and screaming. It would look like the coaches are not in control of the team and these guys would have lost their composure. You would rather have a team that understands their mistakes and corrects them without losing control of themselves. I like this team and how they go about their business.

  16. Shane Callahan Says:

    That’s one thing that has surprised me about Baker since he entered the NFL. With the Sooners, he always lit it up during the 1st quarter with the traitor’s (Lincoln Riley) scripts. Since he’s been in the League, he’s struggled during the first quarter of dang near every game. I think that it has a lot to do with play-calling, but he must get better at that if the Bucs are going to make a playoff run.

  17. Shane Callahan Says:

    Off-topic… If you missed OU-Texas, you missed the best football of this season. For real; it had everything.

  18. Shane Callahan Says:

    Browns dump their QB who played nearly an entire season for them with a torn shoulder for a guy who has refuses to play for two weeks even though he’s been medically cleared. 🤣 Go Bucs!

  19. Since76 Says:

    Arians and character shouldn’t be in the same sentence. He showed his character the way he exited stage right when the show was about to start and casting was complete.

  20. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    Fast starts are highly over-rated.

    The team that’s leading at the end of the game, usually wins.

  21. David Says:

    Bucs will never win against good teams without scoring in first quarters. Example:Loss against Eagles.

  22. garro Says:

    I think Canales is spot on. Being realistic.

    Offensively we are still a work in progress. As such the ability to enforce our will on a defense early is not likely. He is still learning what our guys do best.

    I do expect to see a few new wrinkles this week. Would love to see more of Otten, Palmer/Thompkins. Another pass or two to White out of the backfield?

    Go Bucs!